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What Happens When You Quit Drinking Soda Pop?

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Brandi Goodman

What Happens When You Quit Drinking Soda?

Whether pop or soda is your preferred word of choice for soft drinks, the sugary carbonated beverage raises more concerns than mere semantics. Soda is bad for both the body and brain, and should no longer be part of your daily drinking habits. But what exactly happens once you call it quits?

Negative Impact of Soda Consumption on the Body

Soda does far more to your body than you might realize. You increase your risks for heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, stroke, kidney damage, and tooth decay, to name a few things. One glass every once in a while is OK, but drinking it daily can lead to severe, long-term consequences.

Health Benefits of Quitting Soda

Once you quit drinking soda, the benefits abound. You may notice weight loss, improved mood, better mental clarity, and better oral hygiene, among other things.

Impact of Quitting Soda on Oral Hygiene

The sugar and acids found in soft drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth. They can eat away at the enamel of your teeth, as well as cause cavities. Once you quit drinking the stuff, the enamel cannot simply grow back. However, you can prevent further damage from occurring and help your oral health in the long run.

Any time you finish a can of soda, rinse your mouth with water within 20 minutes or so to help eliminate some of the residue left behind. Don’t brush yet, though. Brushing immediately can damage your teeth. You should wait at least 30 minutes after drinking or consuming sugar to brush; this gives your saliva time to do some cleaning and you don’t spread around the sugar unintentionally.

Weight Loss and Body Composition Changes

If you’ve been having a hard time losing weight, try quitting soda. Avoiding the extra calories and sugar can be significant for finally losing the weight you’ve been struggling with. You also decrease your risk for obesity-related diseases when you quit the stuff. You may also notice changes in your overall body composition, such as less bloating in your stomach.

How Quitting Soda Affects Energy Levels, Mood, and Mental Clarity

Your energy levels, mood, and mental clarity are also impacted by soda. Once you’ve weaned yourself off the caffeine and sugar, your mood is more likely to be agreeable. You’ll notice improved mental clarity and focus, and better energy levels. Soda tends to spike your energy for a short time due to the caffeine content, but it will have you crashing soon after. Keeping it out of your diet and turning to foods with energy-boosting powers is the way to go.

Reducing Sugar Reduces Chronic Inflammation

Sugar is a common culprit of inflammation within the body. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease and other serious health consequences. Most men should have no more than 37.5 grams of sugar per day. Most women should have no more than 25 grams. Yet, just one can of most sodas already exceeds this limit. Added to the other sugary foods you’re eating each day and your amount is far greater than what your body can handle. Eliminate soda from the equation and you can reduce your sugar intake drastically.

According to Statista, in the United States the average per person volume of consumed soda in 2024 is expected to be 136.6 liters.

Withdrawal Symptoms or Side Effects From Quitting Soda

You may notice side effects or withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking soda immediately. Caffeine withdrawal is common and may cause you to experience fatigue, headaches, irritability, dizziness, and nausea. Symptoms often start within 12 to 24 hours after you have your last drink, but the withdrawal should be over within nine days at most.

Rather than cutting out soda cold turkey, do so gradually. Decrease your number of drinks each day until you are down to zero. Keep your body hydrated with water and get enough sleep to better help your body avoid such severe side effects.

Difference Between Regular, Diet, and Zero-Sugar Soda

Soft drinks come in a variety of flavors. They also come in various forms, such as regular soda, diet soda, and zero-sugar soda. Although a diet or zero-sugar option is better than the regular version, it still contains artificial sweeteners that can be just as bad for your body.

Regular soda is sugar-sweetened, has high calories, and is high in caffeine. Diet soda is sweetened with artificial ingredients and has no calories, but some versions may still contain caffeine. Zero-sugar soda has no calories nor any added sugar. Yet, it may still contain a source of phenylalanine or aspartame, which are worrisome for your health. They can still increase your risk for type 2 diabetes even if they aren’t immediately raising your blood sugar levels.

If you’re going to drink any of them, then zero-sugar may be the safest solution. However, all sodas should be eliminated from your drink menu so you can ensure your best health in the long run.

How Does Quitting Soda Affect Taste Preferences and Cravings?

When you drink soda regularly, your taste buds become accustomed to sugar. This means you are likely to crave other sugary foods and beverages. If you want to get rid of your sweet tooth, stop drinking soda. After a while, you may not even be able to take one sip of soda without realizing just how overly sugary and gross it tastes. With healthier foods and drinks on your daily diet, you will begin to have taste preferences for healthier selections rather than unhealthy ones.

Best Alternatives to Soda

All sugary drinks should be mostly off-limits. Instead of grabbing a soda or fruit juice with added sugar, opt for infused water instead. Water is always the best choice for your body. Fresh-squeezed juice from fruit is also a viable alternative, or you can drink sparkling water with no sugar added. If you need to take your time eliminating soda from your diet -- and want to decrease your caffeine content gradually -- then look for a zero-sugar, organic energy drink. One brand you can try is Clean Cause.

Make Changes for a Healthier You

Healthy living is a combination of quitting the things that are bad for you (such as soda) and introducing things to your life that are good for you (infused water, perhaps). Regular habits, such as drinking more water and visiting your partners in health at The Joint Chiropractic, can bring about healthy changes to your overall well-being.

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